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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Winding Back the Clock, Part I

Hungary proposes tackling population decline by offering tax-free status to mothers who produce four or more children. Is this a practical idea? Or is the thinking that underscores it perhaps just another facet of the conservative social vision of a defiantly confident traditionalist politics?
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Let’s Hear it for Rousseau

In the wake of the death of a young American missionary, whose good news was apparently unwelcome to the tribesmen of a small island in the Bay of Bengal, might it be time to give up on the monotheistic imperative, a compulsion to root out the false gods of ‘primitive peoples’?
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Appalling Vista

The UK may be currently on the back foot, but there are conceivable circumstances where we might witness a weak Europe being manipulated from the east by Russia and China and from the west by Britain, with enthusiastic cousinly assistance from the US.
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‘O commemorate me where there is water’

Peter Sirr sees ‘literary Dublin’ as having been characterised by the famous remark, the ultimate put-down, the libel trial, products all of a particular kind of competitive maleness. Behind the posters and brochures aimed at the tourists was a male kind of city, hard-drinking and cordially vicious.
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The Tenth Circle of Hell

European Council president Donald Tusk wondered if there should be a special place in the infernal regions for those who promoted Brexit without any idea of how it had to be negotiated. In the long run, the fools seem unlikely to be pardoned.
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If you gotta do it do it right

The newspapers have gone to the dogs completely. No one can spell or punctuate and the young people working there now obviously think grammar is just some kind of weird obsession of elderly fascists out to oppress them. But hold on, is it really as simple as all that?
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The Author of Himself

In his semi-autobiographical fiction James Joyce was not afraid to occasionally portray himself in a less than flattering light. But when the facts of his early life did not please him or suit his fictional purposes he was also very ready to edit them.
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Involuntary Icaruses

Before Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in 1961 it was deemed advisable to test out the operation with an animal. The dog Laika became famous, but did not survive. An earlier test flight by balloon, in Dublin in the 1780s, also featured an unwilling passenger, a cat who sadly remains anonymous.
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Power to the Imagination

In the context of the controversy over commissioning policy at the Abbey we should be reminded why theatre matters and the degree to which it is a barometer of a nation’s psychic health. Plays, musicals and other performances are manifestations of the imagination in its most live, energising and present form.
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Diana Athill 1917-2019

Diana Athill was a publisher’s editor who worked with some of the most distinguished novelists of the twentieth century. She found a measure of fame at the end of her life through her wonderfully lucid and engaging memoirs, while she also fascinated with her frankness about her personal life.
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How Out is Out?

Britain, it still seems likely, will soon be leaving the EU: the question is how. But what will happen after that? And is there not a form of supporting Europe and its values, for those who want to, that can be open to individuals from the UK, or Turkey, or Belarus, or indeed Russia?
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What Big Hands You've Got

The poet Patrick Kavanagh was a familiar figure in mid-twentieth century Dublin. Along Baggot Street he stepped out like a real countryman come up to town, long strides and hands swinging. Many young women were a bit afraid of him, but he could well have been putting it on a bit.
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Seeking a Safe Haven

Ireland’s Jewish population, which increased dramatically around the turn of the twentieth century, differed from earlier influxes in that it was not focused on occupying land but was predominantly urban. Newspapers here kept the public well-informed about the horrors the Jews were fleeing.
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Mind The Language

Austria became a republic in late 1918, but its democracy collapsed in the 1930s. The director of Vienna's new contemporary history museum, asked what can be learned from the First Republic, says its history teaches us that democracy is a perishable good and can be fatally weakened by a coarsening of public language.
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Noises Off: Dublin’s Contested Monuments

Peter Sirr takes a walk about Dublin, looking up, sometimes looking down, at the ways in which the city has tried to commemorate its notable citizens, historical and imaginary. Statues, he finds, may be moving, may be moved elsewhere, and in extreme cases be removed by explosives.
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If Brexit became ‘Lexit’

Jeremy Corbyn, who dreams of a left-wing Brexit - a ‘Lexit’ - may not share the imperial nostalgia of the Tory Brexiters but his thinking belongs to an age when the white male working class was the basis of progressive politics. That age has passed and the history that made it possible has also gone
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Come back to Erin?

James Joyce’s strategy was to write as an exile from Ireland. That this exile should follow him into eternity was not part of the plan. In the early years after his death the Irish authorities displayed great hostility towards him. That has changed. Is it time to think of bringing his body home?
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Liberalism Under Threat

If politics continues on its present path discourse will become entirely populist and practice increasingly totalitarian, the charismatic leader ubiquitous, elections irregular, their outcomes predictable and the concept of society invoked only in terms of security rather than social justice.
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In the Beginning was the Word

Frank Hugh O’Donnell’s 'The Ruin of Education in Ireland', published in 1902, interpreted the Catholic church’s control of education as a British conspiracy to keep the Irish intellect stunted.
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Out with the old, in with the new

The Irish Party, being purely a vehicle to obtain Home Rule, was much more circumscribed than a modern political party, free to champion a diversity of issues. All its eggs were in one basket. From 1900 that gave it an appearance of intellectual jadedness and left it open to competition.
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